With its abundance of history, wild spaces, and unique cultures, Pennsylvania is an ideal location for any visitor that hopes to find adventure and intrigue.
For family fun and education, few places rival Pennsylvania’s bounty of attractions. Explore the history and culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch at the Amish Village in Ronks, where visitors can enjoy an escorted Farmhouse Tour or peruse the town on their own, investigating the smokehouse market, blacksmith shop, and more. Kids will delight in the 120 exotic species of animals on display at the Claws ‘n’ Paws Wild Animal Park, where they can dig for fossils and get a hands-on experience in the petting zoo. And for kids and kids-at-heart, the National Train Museum in Strasburg offers interactive exhibits and displays that highlight toy trains from the 1800’s to the present, just down the street from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where visitors can explore the history behind the machines that inspired the toys!
Shoppers and antique hunters will enjoy the bevy of shopping establishments to choose from. Dive into the Woolrich Outlet Store in Woolrich – home of the famous brand, established in 1830 – to peruse a wide variety of footwear, accessories, home furnishings, and more. At the Horse Soldier in Gettysburg, take the time to investigate and purchase military antiques ranging from the Revolutionary War to World War II, with a special emphasis on the Civil War.
With such a vast and untouched wilderness comprising the majority of the state, Pennsylvania is rife with outdoor recreation and adventure for the visitor to enjoy. Stop by the Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown for a guided tour of the cavern’s stunning, underground beauty or, instead, take to the skies and thrill to a 3,000 foot, dual racing zip line at Kittatinny River Trips & Ziplines in Milford. There, hardy adventurers can also enjoy canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and tubing trips through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area. And for the avid hiker, a visit to the Allegheny National Forest’s 517,000 acres of trails and unspoiled wilderness is a must-do.
For avid historians, a trip through the Northern Appalachia region of the state will offer experiences and sights that will educate and inform about the immigrants and industry that helped build Pennsylvania. The Allegheny area is replete with forts and inns dating from the American Revolution and the French and Indian War. In southwestern Pennsylvania, German immigrants helped add rifle-building to the region’s tradition of artisanry. Look for demonstrations by skilled gunsmiths at places like Old Bedford Village. To the north, near Oil City, oil in America was first discovered by Edwin Drake. The Drake Well Museum displays a replica of his 1859 derrick. With Northern Appalachia’s great diversity of historical and cultural experience, the visitor is never short on an ethnic festival, story-telling event, craft demonstration, or historical re-enactment to experience.
As a key state in the horrific conflicts of the Civil War, Pennsylvania is rich with battlefields and museums that are dedicated to preserving the memories of those who fought and what they fought for. Visit the Baker Mansion in Blair County to tour furnished rooms of this 1849 mansion and view historical exhibits focusing on the events of the war, or follow a civil war trail that leads from the famous Gettysburg Battlefield to the historic state capitol of Harrisburg to experience the echoes of the past in buildings, art, and other reflections of this nation-defining conflict.
Authentic Americana is around every corner in the State of Independence, and it flourishes along Pennsylvania’s artisan trails. Each unique route winds through the state's unspoiled countryside and plays host to potters, quilters, glassblowers, and other creative folks who make the everyday objects that reflect Pennsylvania heritage. Try a trip along the first road in America, the Lincoln Highway, to enjoy the tile art of Steve dePerrot, the handcrafted furniture of Dan Dennis, and 200 years of Amish quilt history at the Lancaster Quilt & Textile Museum.
Of course, all of this is just a sampling of what Pennsylvania has to offer. Whether its visiting historically significant locations in Philadelphia, catching a professional sporting match in Pittsburgh, or simply taking in the sights that the state has to offer, there is always something to do and entertain in the Keystone State.